Register as a British Citizen

Key Takeaways 

  • There are two situations where you have to register to get your British citizenship by descent.
  • If you were born to a British mother before January 1, 1983, you must register with the British government because you were not considered a British citizen by inheritance when you were born.
  • If you were born to an unmarried British father before 2006, you must also register for the same reason.
  • As well, if you were born in the UK to parents who did not have the Right of Abode, you have to register to become a British citizen. However, you must have lived continually in the UK until the age of 10 to be able to register.

In many cases people who are entitled to British citizenship through UK nationality law are not on record as being British citizens because previous versions of the UK’s nationality law would have prevented them from inheriting citizenship. In these cases, one must register to become a British Citizen first, before applying for a UK passport. If you submit a passport application without having registered in this situation, your passport application will be refused.

Registering for British Citizenship by Descent

There are two instances when you could be a British citizen through your parent but have to Register before getting your passport due to changes in the law. Your birth date is the deciding factor because if the law changed after you were born, you likely have to register, but if the law changed before you were born, you do not have to register.

Registering for Citizenship – Born in the UK

There are other cases in which you must register for citizenship before applying for a passport when you haven’t inherited citizenship.

The most common case is a child born in the UK to parents who do not have “the right of abode” (i.e. are not “settled”). In this case, children who live in the UK from birth until the age of 10, consecutively, without moving from the UK, can register as UK citizens. Please note: any trip outside of the UK longer than 90 days at a time will make the child ineligible for UK citizenship.

Once, you’ve been registered as a British citizen you can apply for your UK passport, click here for that step. 

Get Your British Citizenship

If your mother or father was born in the United Kingdom, but you aren’t eligible for a UK passport because you were born to a British mother before 1983 or you were born to a British father before 2006 and your parents were unmarried, you need to register as a citizen before applying for a passport.

To get your passport, you need to register your citizenship with the British authorities.

Your new British passport will entitle you the “Right to Abode” – the right to live and work in the United Kingdom – as well as to live and work in the EU. Includes:

  • Registration as a UK Citizen
  • First UK Passport
  • Application reviewed for completeness and filed with the UK government
  • Supervision by a Registered Immigration Consultant (RIC)